One card that has caught my eye in the previews for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms so far is Orcus, Prince of Undeath.
A four mana 5/3 flyer with trample is a decent rate, but probably not good enough by modern standards. That being said, Orcus provides a lot more value than that. Against small creature decks, he’s a sweeper that doubles as a blocker. You may also lose a little bit of life, which can certainly make things a little bit tricky though. Even for five or six mana, in certain matchups, you’re potentially getting a two, three or maybe four-for-one. Maybe what you want is to use it in sacrifice-type decks, so you’re not as often sweeping, except the threat is always there, preventing you from getting overrun with card advantage.
Another interesting thing about it is, in matchups where the sweeper effect isn’t that good, that other ability should be more effective. You can return creatures from the graveyard to the battlefield. The biggest issue I see with Orcus is that the sweeper isn’t that strong if you have a lot of cheap creatures to reanimate. In theory, the more cheap creatures that you can return for lower numbers of mana, the easier it should be to gain advantage. Enter the battlefield effects are good in order to provide a lot of extra value when we’re reanimating.
One of the things that balances Orcus is that the X value is only when cast, so if you do something like try to reanimate a Charming Prince, blink Orcus and reanimate something else, it doesn’t work. This was one of my first thoughts, albeit fleeting.
Orcus is a card that looks good to me on paper, but it remains to be seen how it’ll be used. I’ll try to brew some with it, but I’m still curious to see if there are any cards in the set looking to power it up.